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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Youth Summit on May 3

High school students are invited to attend the Youth Summit on May 3, 6-8PM at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, room 267.

This free event is a great opportunity to meet other student leaders and teens who want to make a difference. The meeting is hosted by Youth Voice/Leadership Alliance, a program of Kids Voting Mecklenburg. Students discuss school and community issues and have important dialogues with public officials to provide input on policies and decisions impacting young people. All interested high school students are invited to participate.

Make your voice heard on issues that matter to you! Topics include:

* Making youth voices heard in government decision-making
* Collaborating to make a difference at schools and in the community
* What can youth do about the negativity that dominates the news and government meetings, especially about public education

Pre-registration is required for the free event. To register, or ask questions, contact info@kidsvoting.org or 704-343-6999. We'll send directions and parking info to you after you register.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

'Tis the Season...

In April, May and June, governments will be creating and finalizing their budgets for the coming year. Part of this process involves publicizing possible budget cuts and additions, and hearing from the public about those options and decisions. This is a helpful process in many ways. It is also a good learning opportunity for K-12 students, including:
  • Local, state and federal government
  • Roles of citizens and leaders
  • Impacts of policies and decisions
  • Civic engagement
  • Economics
  • Effective communication
  • Reading informational text and public documents
  • Writing (response, argument, persuasion and more)
  • Presenting information
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking


What happens when?
The CMS budget will be introduced on April 12. The School Board will approve it on May 10. A public hearing will be held April 26. Between April 12 and May 10, citizens can contact the school board about the budget and offer opinions, suggestions and solutions.

The County budget will be introduced on May 17. The Commissioners will hear from the public after that, and then approve the budget before July 1. The county budget includes funding for schools, parks, libraries and other services.

The Charlotte budget will be introduced on May 9. The public may contact city officials through May and early June. A public hearing will be held on May 23. The budget will be approved on June 13. The city budget includes funding for roads, neighborhoods, public transit, police and other items.

Town budgets are usually created and approved in the months of May and June. Each town has a different process and meeting schedule. Information is posted below. Town budgets include monies for public safety, town roads and other items.

The North Carolina budget process began in January. The General Assembly has been debating budget options, with the House and Senate working to reach agreement. The Governor signs the budget into law by July 1. The state funds many things including schools, roads and services for citizens.

The Federal budget process takes many months. Here is an interactive presentation about it.


General information
General budget information including calendars
Talking to officials
More information to be posted, including learning opportunities aligned to NCSCOS in social studies and language arts

City of Charlotte
Budget info
City of Charlotte presentation and website
Budget information for city, towns and county
Contact city officials 

Mecklenburg towns
Cornelius presentation and website
Davidson presentation and website
Huntersville presentation and website
Matthews presentation and website
Mint Hill presentation and website
Pineville presentation and website
Budget information for city, towns and county
Talking to officials  


Mecklenburg County
Budget information
County presentation (contact Kids Voting for editable version)
Commissioner budget priorities
List of budget categories and information about mandated services (what county must do)
Contact county officials

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Budget information
Presentation (contact Kids Voting for editable version)
Contact school board

North Carolina
Budget information
Balance the Budget Challenge
General Assembly reports
Contact legislators

United States
FY 2012
Budget Hero
Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget
Contact Congress


Teachers: Let us know what you are interested in learning about, resources you are looking for, etc.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mecklenburg Municipalities

What's a municipality? A North Carolina, a city, town or village. In Mecklenburg County, there are 7 municipalities: Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville.

Each city or town has a mayor and a council. While Charlotte's officials represent political parties (Democrat or Republican), the elected leaders in the towns are non-partisan. Municipal elections are held every 2 years, with the next election this year.

In each location, a professional manager is hired to carry out policies and manage city or town government.

Part of the manager's responsibility is to develop an annual budget, which the mayor and council approve. Local governments collect funds from fees, sales and property taxes and other kinds of revenue. Budget expenses vary, and include general government (communicating with the public, carrying out laws and policies, etc.), public safety (police, fire and medic), roads and transportation, public works and utilities, parks and recreation, planning and economic development.

The budget process takes place each spring. This is a great time to learn about the government services and leaders, and make your voice heard.

Learn more about the city and town governments in Mecklenburg County
City of Charlotte presentation and website
Cornelius presentation and website
Davidson presentation and website
Huntersville presentation and website
Matthews presentation and website
Mint Hill presentation and website
Pineville presentation and website
Budget information for city, towns and county
Talking to officials 
 
Contact Kids Voting Mecklenburg for editable presentations and other classroom materials about government, civic action and leadership.